Once upon a time there was a band none of us could really put our fingers on. When the first Mazzy Star album arrived at the record company it seemed enigmatic and otherworldly, and genuinely not to belong in a world of MC Hammer and Garth Brooks. It was as strange as Sparklehorse but clearly more commercial in an odd way.
There was some enthusiasm based on the obvious legacy to the Velvet Underground and the fact that the singer (Hope Sandoval) was extremely alluring both visually and vocally, but this was quickly tempered by their first live performances which seemed to happen mostly in the dark. Naturally there was a buzz on them in France where appearing in the dark dressed in black seemed very cool.
The second record “So Tonight That I Might See” didn’t move far off the formula though it did give birth to the elegant and lovely “Fade Into You”. It wasn’t a real hit but it slowly insinuated itself onto every students playlist and became one of those songs you heard in the background at cool bars and on people’s “back to mine” lists. Mazzy Star had a bona fide indie classic.
A third album appeared after a bit and whilst “Flowers In December” was beautiful it wasn’t “Fade Into You”. And then silence.
If this sounds underwhelming it shouldn’t. Each of these three albums is perfect and brilliant. They all remain favourites – old friends. Mazzy Star was that perfect indie band that was enough of a secret to make you feel cool, and easy enough to listen to for everyone to share. An aural bliss to sit alongside Honey’s Dead Jesus and Mary Chain, This Mortal Coil, The Boatman’s Call, Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore and Nirvana Unplugged.
So the news that there’s about to be another album is exciting new music. As is the debut of a track California and in better news the formula is pretty much the same. So the new music feels old. And that’s perfect.